The silence leading into E3 2016 broke yesterday with multiple reports of an upgraded Xbox One. Kotaku kicked things off with a report stating the more powerful Xbox One is coming in 2017 and will include a more powerful GPU.
A subsequent Polygon report was a bit more specific about just how much more powerful this GPU would be.
Their sources indicated it would be four times as powerful than the current Xbox One. Woah. With news that the Xbox team is interested in more frequent updates to hardware, that’s a pretty damn big upgrade.
The Polygon report goes on to mention that Microsoft doesn’t want power to be an issue with the more powerful Xbox One. The PS4 had the clear power advantage over the Xbox One from the start. And the difference in specs showed across many multiplatform games. PS4 versions often enjoyed higher resolution compared to its Xbox One counterparts.
Kotaku’s report also mentions the new Xbox One will be “technically capable of supporting the Oculus Rift.” Virtual reality has the potential to be a game-changer. Early demand for the new tech has been great, but can the demand hold? Right now, you need a hefty gaming PC for premium VR solutions including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. But what if a reasonably priced console could get you that support? Widespread adoption would have a much better chance if next year’s Xbox One could support it.
PlayStation has their own VR unit coming soon. Many of us assume the demanding specs needed for VR is why Sony is working on a more powerful PS4. Nothing is official yet, but we’ve seen reports all year indicating it’s happening.
I want one
I’ve played incredible games on Xbox One and PS4. From Halo 5: Guardians to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. But new technology is quickly outstripping what current consoles can provide. Many of us have 4K TVs, but our consoles can’t take advantage of it. Virtual reality is being coined ‘the next big thing’ by those creating it.
4K and virtual reality support would be great, but I just want rock solid 1080p/60fps on every game and every mode. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End single player would be fantastic at 60 frames per second. I’m not going to knock Naughty Dog for not hitting that frame rate. What they did with Uncharted 4 is incredible.
It’s clear developers still need more power under the consoles to hit these targets. With some of the specs being thrown around for the next Xbox One and PS4, they won’t have any excuses for not hitting a base 1080p/60fps.
My biggest concern
How will this affect current Xbox One and PS4 owners? This isn’t necessarily a concern for folks who are going to get an upgraded console immediately, but it’s one the console manufacturers need to explain.
Reports indicate games will have to work on the current consoles as well as the upgraded ones. But at what cost?
Developers are going to push the envelope. If you give them insane specs, they will try and tap them out. Where does that leave gamers who are still playing on Xbox One and PS4? How will a 1080p/60fps game on the new Xbox run on Xbox One? 720p/30fps? Microsoft (and Sony) need to implement a minimum spec requirement for the ‘older’ versions of their consoles. 900p/30fps at a minimum.
Sony is already implementing a strict 60fps requirement for PS VR games. So, requirements for regular games don’t seem too far-fetched.
E3 is going to be crazy this year
Ubisoft’s For Honor.
If these reports pan out, we could see new hardware from Microsoft and Sony in just a couple of weeks. Not to mention the sheer number of fantastic looking games we already know about, and new ones that will be announced. Here’s just a taste of what I’m looking forward to at next month’s E3.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Halo Wars 2
New Star Wars games
And the list goes on! I can’t wait to see what surprises Xbox and Sony have in store. I want to hear how far Microsoft is going with Xbox One and Windows 10. Developers told Kotaku yesterday Microsoft wants to release all first-party games on Windows 10 moving forward. That includes the Halo series.
Xbox’s Phil Spencer is going to have to talk fast on June 13. He confirmed their conference will last 90 minutes. New hardware, new games and the usual talking about the previous year? Look for ‘games, games, games’ to continue to be Xbox’s mantra.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) May 24, 2016
What games (or consoles) are you most excited to hear more about at E3? For Honor and Mass Effect: Andromeda are at the top of my list.